Tag Archives | Anna Wintour

Couture Couture Couture

Phenomenal. Breathtaking. Eye-Catching. Dreamy. Unbelievable. Divine.

Those are all words that I could easily use to describe the Fall 2012 Couture collections that were shown in Paris this past week. The locations ranged from the Grand Palais to the Ritz Hotel to the Musée Bourdelle, and the themes ran the gamut from old school glamour to futuristic to Game of Thrones.

Yes. Game of Thrones.

The big story this season was Raf Simons’s inaugural collection for the house of Christian Dior after leaving Jil Sander at the end of last season. The show began with classic Dior colors and silhouettes, elegant suits, ladylike dresses, and then ball gowns that I can guarantee will feature heavily on the red carpet in the coming year’s award season.

The collection was anything but boring though with metallic belts, gorgeous embroidery, dramatic peplums, oversized pockets, opera-length gloves, bold collars, tie dyed pieces, tweeds, and reach-out-and-touch-them textures. It was soft and elegant and oh-so-Dior, but with a dramatic, extravagant edge.


I’m not sure if I can put it any better than the fabulous Mr Blasberg who proclaimed: “In the last 13 minutes, Raf Simons just single-handedly altered the contemporary haute couture landscape.” Curious how the phenomenal flower-strewn setting was created for this show? This video gives you a fabulous backstage peek at the process of creation.

New Vintage was the theme for Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel Fall 2012 Couture collection  – “Vintage is depressing, but ‘new vintage’ is something to come. It’s preparation for something that could last.”

Bold plaid & checkered patterns, metal-tipped pumps, traditional tweeds, metallic silver tights, chunky knits, shimmery separates, slouchy sequined caps, oversized outerwear, maxi skirts and full pants, velvet coats, pussy bow blouses, Peter Pan collars, and dresses adorned with feathers, chiffon, tulle, and sequins all had a sassy retro feel with modern and sometimes futuristic-feeling details.

Givenchy‘s Riccardo Tisci is nothing if not detail oriented. His collections are traditionally small in size and he and his design teams & seamstresses really focus on making each look unique, one-of-a-kind, and highly intricate. His Fall 2012 collection focused on beading, heavy embroidery and brocades, leather working, fringe, and even sequins.

The restrained extravagance of this collection perfectly complemented the earthy, folksy theme that was somewhere between Little Red Riding Hood and Maid Marian. And I couldn’t have envisioned a more appropriate background than the lush green forest that these looks were photographed against.

While there was some of the famous Valentino red at the end of this show, the colors de jour were navy and creamy pink. The thick brocades and heavy embroideries in cream, peach, and pink played perfectly against the sequins, sheer panels, and flowing silks in varying shades of moody blues.

The details in these pieces were phenomenal, from delicate accordion pleats and metallic-laced brocades to dramatic floral cutouts and sheer chiffon ruffles. Chiuri and Piccioli have been getting their footing over the last few seasons and this couture collection seems to be the coming out party for the new Valentino – An opulent, dramatic twist on the old school glamour and romance that Valentino is known for.

In the world of couture Giorgio Armani’s Fall 2012 Armani Prive collection offered up something wholly different. Wearability. Given that couture is considered an art form and that pieces in these collections can range anywhere from $20,000 to $2,000,000, wearability is hardly the word de jour. But with the full, flattering cuts, cool, pale silks, and touchable, midnight dark velvets, wearable was just what he presented.

These looks were all about textures – Soft, sleek, touchable fabrics that you could almost feel against your skin. The jeweled and beaded veils were one of my favorite parts of this collection, they added serious drama and brought out a mysterious quality in the clothes that took you to another time and place.

The Versace show at the Ritz Hotel was wild and fun – Xena Warrior Princess meets Couture Barbie. The Versace woman is strong, fierce, and fearless, she embraces her sexuality and loves to show some skin. These clothes are not for the faint of heart, they were all about dramatic peek-a-boos, slashes, and slits.

Wide, tooled belts, multi-strap & buckle adorned heels, sheer cloth, sequined netting details, and spiderweb thin mesh gave this show unabashed shimmer, shine, and sex appeal.

The Versace girl is bold, uninhibited and in these clothes, she’s ready to party!

I always look forward to Giambattista Valli‘s collections – His esthetic is divine and I love how he always adds a little edge to his classic, ladylike silhouettes. And his second couture collection made me say to myself for a second time, Valli was made for couture.

And here in this dreamy place far away the moody reds and greens, organic prints, and flowing cuts & ruffles were all borrowed from nature; all-over muted floral patterns, applique and embroidered plant life, ruffles, flares, folds, and thick lace were all born of the outdoors. And with jewelry, accessories, and hairpieces evoking bugs, butterflies, and leaves, the theme was complete throughout the collection.

Rather than a fairy princess vibe the earthy tones and themes brought to mind wood nymphs and dryads – Woodland creatures who personified the various aspects of the natural world that they watched over; strong and eternal.

Sources: Fashionologie, Style.com, Tom & Lorenzo, TopCoat & FabSugar

If you’re curious to see what these designers have shown on the couture catwalk in seasons past here are a few links to try – Spring 2012 Couture and Fall 2011 Couture.

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New York Fashion Week Fall 2012

As much as I would love to review each & every show from the Fall 2012 New York Fashion Week – a girl’s gotta sleep. So in the next few posts I’ll share some of my favorite shows, looks, and moments, and at the bottom you can find more information & links about the shows that I couldn’t review.

I always look forward to Alice+Olivia because I can see myself in all of their clothes and their presentations are always bright, pretty and fun. This season the outstanding looks were showcased on a dramatic black & white rug in a chic Baroque-style sitting room – a busy, but interesting background for the pieces.

From separates to cocktail frocks to full length gowns, there’s a little something for everyone. I love the black, white & grey tweed and wool outerwear almost as much as the glitzy dresses – always the highlight with everything from brocade florals to sleek n’ sexy black to glamorous sequins, feathers and faux fur. Tres chic!

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been hooked since Rachel Zoe’s very first show because not only are her looks right on trend, they’re flattering and wearable – I even bought this coat after eyeing it for over a year. This season was no exception and her first runway show was all about the swinging 60’s in London with a splash of rock n’ roll – a common theme this week.

The looks were fun, sexy & playful with faux fur & leather, pantsuits, velvet, pleating, double-breasted buttons, sequins & over-the-knee suede boots. I’ll take one of each please!

{Tom & Lorenzo and Black Studded Fashion agreed, you can also read her post-fashion week interview with Harper’s Bazaar here}

Milly is another show that I look forward to because I know that some of the pieces will end up in my closet  (at this point I should say thank you to my gorgeous & stylish cousin Heather for turning me onto Milly – definitely a defining moment!). And Michelle Smith did not disappoint this season, the show was full of fun colors, interesting patterns and quirky silhouettes.

Adorable double-breasted coats, gloves in black, leopard and blue, sheer tights, turtlenecks, A-line minis, sheer blouses with contrasting collars, petal skirts, flashes of neon, retro-style cocktail dresses, wide belts and pointy-toed pumps.

The grey petal dress with the pockets worn over a black turtleneck and gloves {above right} was definitely my favorite look – Can’t you just see that walking down the street?

Diane Von Furstenberg’s show was sexy and powerful, the DVF woman she celebrated this season was glamorous and sophisticated in bold colored body-worshipping dresses.

I loved the short sleeves paired with opera-length gloves, the belted coats with slim pants, the colorblocking separates, the ankle-strap heels and the sweet prints. The minimal makeup and side-parted hair were the perfect finishing touch.

{Check out this video from FabSugar to see these gorgeous clothes in action!}

If you live for elegant ladylike looks, you’re probably a fan of Victoria Beckham’s classic designs. This season was all about preppy curve-hugging jersey and sporty form-fitting outerwear, paired – interestingly enough – with cute combat boots & thick socks.

This season also marked the first show for Victoria’s lower priced collection called Victoria by Victoria Beckham – Which according to Net-a-Porter was entirely sold out before even getting online. These dresses are simple and pretty, not overly complex or intricate, just basic shift and drop-waisted frocks that you can dress up or down.

{See the video from the Victoria Beckham show here and check out a video of the designer hanging out with Anna Wintour here}

Rachel Roy took the elements as her muse and showed a collection in deep, earthy colors and fun, modern silhouettes. I especially liked the shades of purple used for the last portion of the show, the brightly colored cropped gloves, Oxford booties and wide belts on the coats and separates.

Carolina Herrera’s show was everything we’ve come to expect over the years – glamour and sophistication, with a splash of decadence. She showed everything from wool A-line skirts to cropped boleros to belted strapless dresses to silk screened ball gowns to swoon-worthy gloves, shoes & accessories.

The colors and fabrics were beautiful and interesting while the silhouettes maintained their usual classic and ladylike flair. I especially loved the black & white striped print with the bright florals splashed across. Gorgeous.

{You can find more pictures from this show here}

If you’re in the mood for a little prep J.Crew was the show for you this season. This collection was all about separates and layering, each look had a handful of interesting components that could be worn separately or together. And while there were more bright colors and fun prints than in years past, the basic J.Crew asthetic was present throughout.

{You can also check out a video of the show here.}

Patterned sweaters, jewel toned & printed pants, traditional outerwear, plaid and stripes, dresses for work and play and cute cropped sweater coats. How adorable is that blue tweedy look on the right with the orangy red turtleneck?

The 3.1 Phillip Lim show was primarily black, white & grey with splashes of camel, burnt orange and aqua here and there. But above all else, these clothes were oh-so-wearable. Not only could I picture these looks walked down the New York sidewalk outside, I’ve seen versions & variations in the closets of all the chic women I know. Bulky sweaters, chic suits, cigarette pants, tunics, turtlenecks & sweater dresses galore.

Was it innovative and ground breaking? No, but in an economy like this one women prefer to buy classic, well-made pieces that can be worn season after season, rather than something that will be out of style in a few months, and that’s where this collection steps in.

Favorite part? Definitely the t-strap platforms. Come to mama!

Details details details! Marc Jacobs is always a bit eccentric in his presentations and this year was no different. Bundled layers, dramatically exaggerated silhouettes & unconventional mix and matching were the order of the day. And hats that Dr. Seuss would have been proud of. Can’t forget those.

But looking beyond the showmanship and styling you found some really fabulous pieces perfect for Fall – I especially liked the pairing of slim, cropped cigarette pants with bigger proportions on top, the large buttons on the coats and the elaborate pilgrim shoes.

The looks that Tory Burch showed were effortlessly chic and wearable, I could see myself in virtually everything. And as much as I adore seeing the artistry and showmanship of designers like the late Alexander McQueen, there’s something comforting about seeing a collection that can translate easily to real life, and that’s something that Tory Burch excels at.

While the separates, skirts, dresses and perfectly tailored outerwear were to die for, I couldn’t help but drool a little over the extras. Opera-length gloves, structured handbags, lace & patterned tights, floral appliqué collars and low-heeled T-straps.

{You can read Modelinia’s review of the show here}

Zac Posen’s Japanese themed collection was filled to the brim with hip-hugging dresses, jewel toned separates and sumptuous outerwear. His clothes are dramatic and glamorous, you choose this brand when you want to make a statement the moment you walk into a room.

{You can see a video of the runway show here.}

While Posen’s clothes can seem more like art at times than something you’d actually wear – the flared skirts and cut-out bodices were incredibly flattering, as were the gorgeous metallic ankle-strap heels.

Oh Oscar! The Oscar de la Renta show was a fun and youthful twist on his usual prim and proper fare. Shorter hemlines, cheeky color combinations ,and mix n’ match patterns gave the show an interesting twist. The looks were Winterized by adding bulky knit wraps, cropped tweed coats, lace and brocade jackets and even floor-length dusters paired with evening gowns.

The booties and twisted ribbon pumps paired with subtle fish net stockings were divine, as were the jeweled headpieces, brooches and crystal adorned outerwear. I thought that the exaggerated boatneck collars were exceptionally flattering and loved the pale blue – almost reminiscent of Karl’s Spring 2012 Couture collection.

{Need more Oscar? FabSugar & The Fashionista have you covered – both featuring Arizona Muse’s amazing silver Cinderella ball gown}

A post on New York Fashion Week would hardly be complete without a mention of DKNY. The show was all about downtown cool and as usual black was the main hue – this season with touches of dove grey, cranberry and navy. The cropped outerwear paired with an  A-line mini skirt was an especially fun and flirty silhouette, that still managed to be a little bit business.

The highlights were the thick leather belts, high collars, opaque black tights, booties & ankle-strap heels, gorgeous handbags, sweet floral prints with harder pieces, brights paired with black and tough biker girl leather edges added to outerwear. I would wear virtually any of these pieces, can’t wait for them to hit stores!

The details and extras were really well-chosen for this show, I loved everything from the shoes to the accessories to the cuffs and collars added to the jackets & coats.

{You can also see Tom & Lorenzo’s photographs & review here.}

What can you say about Michael Kors? The man himself is a legend (Studio 54 ring a bell anyone?) and the brand that he’s created is know for its clean lines, flattering styles, and all-American appeal. And while last year’s big 30th anniversary show was quite the success, this year’s show was hardly a let down. The chic country girl in the big city styles were fun but practical – MK’s MO.

The red & black checks, grey wool, black & white flannels, thick knits and dramatic leathers and furs created a backdrop for the story that MK told and the looks were finished off with gloves, skinny belts, thick socks, t-strap heels, clogs, lace up boots and chunky Mary Janes.

{FabSugar has additional photos of the Michael Kors show here or you can see full runway show on GQ Fashion.}

And last but hardly least is Prabal Gurung, one of  the most anticipated shows of the season – the Twittersphere (oh how I hate that word) BLEW UP after the new ad campaign with a dark-haired Candice Swanepoel was released and the hype for his Fall 2012 show increased steadily until the big day. From blacks to brilliant cobalt to white to shimmery gold, the looks ranged from severe with dramatic cutouts to youthful with crazy prints.

I thought that the satiny finished trousers were extremely chic and I can’t wait for the multi-strap heels to hit the stores. I’m also predicting that many of these frocks will appear on the red carpets this season. I wouldn’t be able to resist if I had access to them!

{Purple DIARY has some more great photos here and the runway video can be viewed here}

{Source, Source, Source & Source}

If you’d like to see more shows there are full New York Fashion Week summaries here and here, or you can see photos or videos of the individual shows here: Tibi, Tracy Reese, Christian Siriano, Jenny Packham, Karen Walker, Chris Benz, Naeem Khan, Betsey Johnson, Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti and Elie Tahari.

All the designers really out did themselves this year. The creativity and artistry of the collections and the presentations really blew me away. Stay tuned for the street style and front row looks, then it’s off to London Fashion Week. Also – Be sure to keep an eye out for Moi Contre La Vie’s post-Fashion Week Giveaway!

*** Please note that I do not advocate the use of fur in fashion and personally make an effort not to wear/carry fur, exotic skins or leather. I believe that in this day in age there are many beautiful alternatives to these products which are cruelty & animal-free and should be utilized in their place.

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